Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Souldern Wharf to Somerton Lock :: 01 January 2021

A happy new year to you and yours! It had arrived and hopefully 2022 will turn out to be a return to some sort of normality. I eased into the day having gone to bed late (but earlier than on many New Year Days) and having had a few drinks. By lunchtime the mighty Arsenal were on the TV playing Manchester City and Charlotte was feeling positive as her team had started brightly - it didn't last and having given away a penalty for Man City to equalise, they then had a player sent off. I decided that it might be a good time to go out for a walk and made for Souldern Wharf.

I opted for welly boots as when there has been heavy rain and the canal is in flood – under these conditions the towpath can become submerged in places. I don't often wear wellies as they are not that comfortable - cheap - preferring instead to wear walking boots whenever possible. I soon found a large group of ducks, most of which were wigeon (from photos taken I counted c425). In addition, there were pintail, shoveler and a few teal. Very distant but the bins could resolve the species well enough.

Pintail
Pintail

I pushed on, being passed by walkers as I paused to scan the large numbers of gulls congregating in the shallows - I couldn't pick out anything unusual but I'm sure there would be something given the numbers - I could only see greater black backed, lesser black backed and black-headed gulls. On the fence between us I could see a common buzzard perched on a post and despite the distance I liked the view - I took another photo.

Buzzard

I approached another group of birds and identified 125+ teal, and from photos I counted c425 lapwing. The lapwing rose into the sky and in amongst the lapwing I could see c9 dunlin, likely the same individuals recorded by John Friendship-Taylor a few days before.

I reached Somerton Lock and turned to make my way back. As I reached a denser area of trees, I started to encounter groups of fieldfare and redwings, eventually counting almost 50 of each. I reached the car and was pleased to see that I'd recorded 28 species, a good way to start my 2022 list.

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